Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Red or Blue, It's Still Kool-Aid

It has been 8 years since President Obama's election. The election that promised a lot and delivered, well, whatever you believe it delivered. Plenty of friends of enemies of the 44th President have either polished or tarnished his legacy. A legacy which will take years to truly define like any other president before him.

I am not interested in discussing that here. This is a look at the atmosphere in 2008 and the current atmosphere now.

Here is a bizarre and, in retrospect, embarrassing article from 2008 about Obama's spiritual wisdom. If you want to save time, taste the following:

"Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul." - Mark Morford
Mr. Morford was not alone in his bromance with the newly elected wunderkind.
The Nobel Prize committee made the following observations before Obama had even served for a whole year.
We honor Obama for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," the committee said.

These are but two examples that are inline with dozens of similar nonsensical remarks I heard from left-leaning friends. Conservatives pointed out, "We are talking about the same first term Senator who was buddies with the Illinois Governor soon to be sent to prison, trained in the traditionally most corrupt city in the country (where his close friend is now mayor), preached to by the virulent Reverend Wright, and inspired by the radical Saul Alinsky, right?"

The fact was too many people got caught up "drinking the kool aid" - blindly following someone or something. (Reference to the mass suicide in Jonestown in 1978) You would think we would have learned our lesson...

Fast forward eight years and another unbelievable election cycle and we have come full circle. Donald Trump won a convincing Electoral College and we are hearing the same kind of quotes again.

"Our country's hit the tipping point. We're paying out more than is coming in, and we need a businessman," said disillusioned real estate agent Terri Brennan.

"He didn't get to where he is by being a lone ranger," said Ireland-born Alice Butler-Short, 72, a retired paralegal who moved to the United States in the 1980s. "He will have the right people around to advise him."
As for Trump, "he's a statesman. That's the way our country started, statespeople," Terri Brennan added, referring to America's founding fathers who took time from their careers to serve the public.
My social media feed has been inundated with celebratory quips from Trumpsters. Trump love is only barely eclipsed by the infantile Trump hate seen in college protests and Hollywood elitist rancor. I want to shout, "He is just a man!" Like Obama before him, he is just a man. 
Make America Great Again
Does Trump know how to make America great? I don't know, I'll give him a chance, but one man who knew how society would best function was Pope Leo XIII who released the epic encyclical Rerum Novarum on May 15, 1891. The original manuscript is quite a reading but this digest boils it down to 7 core principles written by Barbara Lanari. 
1) The dignity of the human person, as mentioned above, comes from the fact that man is created in the image and likeness of God. Each person has God's life, law and love deeply imprinted on his very nature. God, each person has the ability and desire to both give and receive life, law and love to others. The ability of man to practice virtues in regard to God and his fellow man gives him a value much higher than any other earthly creature
2) The common good, according to RN, is truly more about making man virtuous than granting man material comforts. Pope Leo XIII believed that the highest good a society could have was virtue. For if everyone in society was virtuous, then there would be just and fair laws, and no one would be without the means to live fairly well because Christian charity would cause others to provide for those who were needy. Rightly understood, the "common good" does not mean what is most materially good for the most number of people. Rather it means the good that is shared by all, which they hold in common. It is really more the moral and spiritual good that all members of society hold in common.
3) Subsidiarity is a very important principle in Catholic social doctrine. While RNdoes not use this term specifically, it refers to the basic principle. Subsidiarity is the principle that governments should not intervene in matters that can be taken care of or resolved by families or communities. States or governments should not replace the rights and responsibilities of families. Rather, those in authority in government should see themselves in a fatherly role of guidance and protection. They should only intervene when a family or community is unable or unwilling to fulfill their rights and duties in regard to its members. Government should be at the service of the family, not vice versa.
4) Participation is the principle that every person in a society should participate in building up society, while keeping in mind God's plan for the human person individually and communally. This principle is based on the belief that every person has been given gifts and talents by God to grow in virtue themselves and to aid others in growing in virtue. By using one's gifts and abilities, one can achieve his highest good and intended end, as well as help others to do the same. God wants man to participate in the world in which he lives.
5) Solidarity is the principle that all members of society have a responsibility to help the other members of their family, community or country with the needs and problems that they cannot remedy themselves. This includes protecting and caring for those who are weak, injured or unable to provide for themselves for one reason or another. States have a duty to prevent abuses of basic human rights and punish abuses when families and communities are unable or unwilling to take care of abuses on their own. 
6) The right of private property is explained extensively in RN. Pope Leo XIII states that private property represents the wages that one has rightfully earned, and that one needs private property to provide for the needs of one's family. This was especially true in 1891 when many grew food, raised animals for food or sale, or produced a marketable crop on their property. Pope Leo XIII rightly predicted that if private property was stolen from rightful owners and given to a state in the name of distributing the wealth more equitably, workers and the poor would suffer the most. 
7) Universal destination of goods is the principle that God made the goods of the earth for the use of all men so that all would be fed, clothed and sheltered. RNstates that Christian living should lead to temporal prosperity for all; not necessarily great temporal wealth for all, but adequate food and shelter for all. In order for this to be a reality, man must share the goods of the earth with all. Property rights and the right of free trade are only instruments for respecting the greater principle of the universal destination of goods. For example, private property can be taxed to assist in providing goods and services that are at the service of all, like police protection, the building of roads and public libraries, for example.

Has President Elect Trump read Rerum Novarum or will he? We can only hope.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Subsidiarity and St. Aquinas

If you abandoned the unending stream of political rancor too soon you would have missed the contents of a particular alarming email sent between high ranking Clinton Campaign insiders. Before you close this blog in fear of running into partisan rhetoric that will make you retch, be not afraid. Any mention of politicos will be solely for reference. So what is is this scandalous email then?

John Halpin, a former Democrat strategist was writing to Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta and Clinton Director of Communications Jennifer Palmeiri when he said in reference to Catholics:

"They can throw around "Thomistic" thought and "subsidiarity" and sound sophisticated because no one knows what the hell they're talking about."

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/4364

My gut reaction was to be angry, but then I realized I had no idea what I should be angry about. I knew Thomistic thought referred to Thomas Aquinas, but I didn't really know what that was, and don't even get me started on the subsidiarity. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This person was apparently mocking Catholics but I was too ignorant to be fully offended. So I hit the "interwebs" for answers.

First, the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, which is so rich and voluminous that Dr. Taylor Marshall takes a quick look at the Saint in a free book that is a short 50 pages! I downloaded it but time constraints only allowed me to go to wikipedia for an even more condensed approach. Although not 50 pages worth of material, an encyclopedia type examination of Thomistic philosophy was a lot to chew on. One take home point that stuck with me was that Aquinas held that faith and reason go hand in hand. Not only that, but that the existence of the almighty can be shown through reason even if faith remains a gift. I won't go through the "Five Ways", but you can contemplate them here.

As a person who holds a degree in Math and one in Chemistry, I have often been asked by my non-believing friends how I can believe in God. The supposition being reason and faith are mortal enemies. I never believed it. Now I know I have a great friend and advocate in St. Thomas.

Second, and more easily understood, comes the concept of subsidiarity. More than just a ten cent word, I found upon googling it, that my outlook on life actually had a single word that specifically described it, outside of "Catholic".

Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. 

Yes, this, a lot of this. Individuals make things happen. My gut tells me that when hard work needs to be done, those in the trenches are who gets it done. Don't get me wrong. There is something be said for leadership, especially leadership which inspires. Leadership which demonstrates an example to those who need an exemplary path to follow, but then the work needs to be done, and it is done by those closest to its effect. 

Why would a trio of Democrat strategists (could easily have been Republican) be complaining about Catholics and their subsidiarity? The answer is clear. Imagine what would happen if Catholics started living out our discipleship. If every Catholic, every Christian, every citizen spent an hour a day and a fraction more of their resources to make an improvement in the lives of our neighbors, what would we need from Big Brother? The answer is very little, if anything. This entire ruling class of elitists who think their Utopian world would come to pass if we (ignorant and backwards Catholics) would just progress out of the Dark Ages.

If you have some time, read up on St. Thomas, but if you don't have time like most us, claw out opportunities to make the world better around you, because that is actually how things get done, even if politicians wished it was otherwise.




Thursday, November 10, 2016

Not a Victory, Only an Opportunity

Image result for president trump

Surprise!!!

Despite what the media tried to force feed into our collective conscience, Americans did not overwhelmingly want Hillary Clinton as President, but let's be honest. 

1) Hillary won the popular vote.
2) If Hillary did that, any moderate democrat would have trounced President Elect Trump.

So I say very directly, THIS IS NOT A VICTORY. The only victory we have is in Jesus. 
This election has not gained you anything you hold sacred or dear. No promise has been kept. No fruit has been produced. 

All that we have been given is a chance and the knowledge that there are still enough people left that don't want to live under the tyranny of government. There are so many whose desperation is so complete that they would turn to a false god in the shape of the government, but for now there are enough people that think I can do this for myself and with my community I can care for my neighbors as myself. But make no mistake about it, our numbers are dwindling. Just by demographic shifts alone, this election result would never have happened in four years.

So what can be done?
1) Pray
2) Fast
3) Give alms

That is the beginning. That can only prepare you for the real work. 

REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING is what will make America great again, not the federal government.

If we don't spread this message constantly from the pulpit, on social media, and through our own personal lives the media and progressives will reclaim the House, the Senate, and the White House again, this time for good. This message cannot be understood in one tweet, in a sound bite, or in a one time exposure. The spread of Christianity has always been greatest in the context of suffering. People will believe in Christ when we suffer as Christ. Our lives will need to be the Gospel before our lips can carry the Gospel.

Under Hillary Clinton and progressive rule Christians would have suffered to maintain our faith. Now with a small window of opportunity Christians must willingly suffer to spread a message of hope to those who rose up against the puppet masters in Washington, Hollywood, and the media.

A recession is coming soon (this happens every 8 years or so regardless of who is in power) and manufacturing jobs are gone. The government will not be able to do anything to change this. Every professed Christian must sacrifice his and her personal comfort on a daily basis to build community, love unconditionally, and connect to the broken. 

Trump will be my president, but I put no trust or hope in him. My hope is in Him who suffered, died, and rose to claim true victory. Pray that my life and yours may shine light on that hope.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Cubs Win and Discipleship

Image result

The Chicago Cubs finally have won the World Series and their fans are rejoicing. As I write this, hundreds of thousands of people are flooding the streets of downtown Chicago to continue in the merriment. The long wait is over ... blah, blah, blah.

Don't get me wrong. I am a Cubs Fan. I was 10 years old in 1984 when the Cubs fell in the NLCS against the San Diego Padres sending me to bed in tears. I followed them closely in 1989 when the San Francisco Giants topped the beloved. Together with all of Cubdom, I screamed at Steve Bartman in 2003 while the Florida Marlins stole another shot at glory from the hometown heroes. I know the pains of being a Cub fan and have enjoyed the success of my team.

I just wanted to share something that surprised me after the last out was made on Wednesday night. I didn't feel the overwhelming joy that I thought I was going to feel. As I remembered my father-in-law, a huge Cub fan who passed to his eternal rest in March, I shed a few tears, but I expected a transcendent emotional rush that never came. What I did feel was the same kind of comfort and elation that I feel when I receive the Lord in the Eucharist every time I am at Mass. 

Image result for eucharistic host

Then, looking at the thousands of fans cheering, singing "Go, Cubs, Go" and crying after the big victory, I realized that this rejoicing multitude was made up of souls who are already pre-discipled. They fully understand the mechanics of discipleship. Of course, many of them could already be fully active Christians, but as research would indicate, most of them are likely unchurched. 

As we look to make disciples of Jesus Christ and consider how to build bridges of trust we should use the latest big sports victory as an opportunity to point out that elated fans already understand what a religious experience feels like.

Consider the experiences of the exuberant sports fan and how they parallel religious practice.

1) Getting together to watch a game - at a bar (church) at Wrigley Field (cathedral)
2) Singing songs - "Take Me Out to the Ball Game", "Go Cubs Go", people will even sing the National Anthem and God Bless America (hymns)
3) Learning more about their team in the newspaper (Bible)
4) Knowing about the All-Stars and Hall of Famers from the past (Saints)
5) Attending rallies and parades (Pilgrimage)

Of course, the Cubs victory didn't bring joy to non fans, just like showing up to church doesn't automatically bring you to a state of ecstasy. It requires hours of watching games, trips to the ball park, and arguing about the best player and mistakes the manager made. The big win becomes even more savory if big losses weigh heavy on your heart and years of waiting create anticipation. 

I posted on my Facebook:

"The celebration is on.
Many of my friends wonder why I am religious.
My answer to Cubs fans: The joy that you felt after Kris Bryant made that third out was only a glimpse of the joy I feel when I go to Mass.
Sharing a common hope, suffering with fellow believers, and celebrating together are elements that make that kind of joy possible.
God created us with the capacity to feel His joy."

Next time you encounter a die-hard sports fan who sincerely questions you on why they should be religious, ask them to remember what it felt like when their team won the big game and invite them to come share that joy every week. Most sports fan has someone in their life that hooked them to their favorite team. Their father or mother, grandparent, uncle, best friend, or coach, someone made a difference. Can you be that person that hooks them on Christ? Pray for me, so that I can.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Live Like Hillary Won


Image result for pope john paul II first pictureIn his first homily, Pope John Paul the Great uttered words that he would echo throughout his papacy: "Brothers and sisters, do not be afraid to welcome Christ and accept his power. Help the Pope and all those who wish to serve Christ and with Christ's power to serve the human person and the whole of mankind. Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid."








"Do not be afraid."

I have read countless Facebook posts, Tweets, and articles about what horrors await Christians if Hillary wins.

Image result for scared face

Well, for a moment imagine it is Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 and the headlines say

"Hillary Makes History." 


What are you going to do?

Will you cry? Will you draw the curtains and call off from work? Will you stay away from all media to avoid watching your enemies gloat?

or

Will you pray? Will you go to church more often? Will you reflect on what you can do to fix the world around you? Will you find the courage to spread the Gospel? Will you organize others to do the same?

If the answer is a little of the former but more of the latter, then why wait?

Why spend your time between now and November fretting about how the media is corrupt, or how Supreme Court justices might be chosen, or how Catholic politicians cause scandal by openly dissenting from the magisterium. Why waste your time? What difference will it make?

The government has never been the answer to the world's problems nor will it be.

Our Lord did not tell Pilate or Herod, "The Kingdom of God starts with better bureaucracy."

He sent the apostles out two by two and said, "Go and make disciples of all nations."
Image result for jesus says go and make disciples
A discipleship group that I am not a member of id9:16 base their name off of Intentional Disciples and Corinthians 9:16:

“If I preach the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for necessity has been laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.”

They lay out their own set of 4 pillars of discipleship
Initiate Conversion, Foster Communion, Embrace Orthodoxy, and Arouse Mission.

There are more and more websites and avenues to foster discipleship, but in this disaster of a political season, start living like the government will always be against us

Do not be afraid, and go make disciples.



Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Twitter Bern

"This political season has been made possible by Twitter... Twitter, for those who can only think in 140 character chunks"

If you get a chance, read the transcript of Bernie Sander's speech. There you will find the usually promise to the American voter of unabated government gifting. He probably could have tweeted out the freebies he and Hillary propose to his Twitt(er) fan base. In order, it goes like this

  • government representation for more than 1% (that never gets old)
  • the struggle for economic, social, racial (is that segregated from social?), and environmental justice (how can justice be wrong?)
  • the future of our children (won't anyone think of the children?)
  • the middle class is shrinking (we wouldn't want them to move up to upper middle class)
  • wealth and income equality (there is a fixed amount of wealth, you have to spread it around) grow)
  • the greed of Wall Street (bankers MADE people buy houses they couldn't afford!!!)
  • we need a leader who brings people together (one who doesn't start race wars)
  • minimum wage is too low (let's just raise it, businesses will be just fine)
  • Donald Trump is bad (okay, I totally agree there)
  • don't let billionaires buy elections (except George Soros, he is totally cool)
  • everyone should have free college (i said college right? not indoctrination centers, phew)
  • let's stop climate change (every place on Earth should be just like San Diego, nothing should ever change)
  • everyone's got to have health care (the money will just show for this, I swear)
  • we will break up large Wall Street banks (except the ones that give Hillary money)
The problem with politics now is that the country has a Twitter mindset. People can only think in sound bites. Conservative thought and perspective like anything worth having takes time to appreciate and understand. You have to learn history. You have to appreciate mathematics and logical reasoning. You need to obtain and fulfill responsibilities to appreciate how hard work is necessary for advancement. These are not easily expressed in 140 characters, but both invective and platitudes can. Hence we have the Bern-meister. Young people (read as ignorant) flock to his Twiiter friendly bullet points along with the Oprah fans who like to see things given away to people at the end of shows.
Image result for oprah giving away meme
To top everything off, Twitter hungry America ends up with the two candidates who have the least amount of substance of anyone who has ever run for political office.
Image result for butcher of benghazi memeImage result for the donald meme

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tim Kaine and Freemasonry

Out of the gate, I apologize for the deceptive title. I will not be presenting any evidence that Hillary Clinton's VP choice, Tim Kaine, is a freemason, if that is what you were hoping to find.

If you know anything about the Freemasons, you would know that that kind of information would not be easy public knowledge.


If you don't know anything about Freemasonry or very little, that is because that is what they want you know. Most people will ask, don't they drive those little cars? Yup.

Image result for masons driving little cars

I will provide more links at the bottom of the page for further reading but to get back to Tim Kaine. He professes to be a Catholic and that his "faith is very important to what he does." He is staunchly pro-abortion (100% rating from Planned Parenthood) and fully supports gay-marriage which are positions clearly in contradiction to the Catholic church.

From wikipedia
In 1983, Cardindal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the personal approval of Pope John Paul II, issued a Declaration on Masonic Associations, which reiterated the Church's objections to Freemasonry.[5]The 1983 declaration states that "faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion. ... the Church's negative judgment in regard to Masonic association(s) remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church (emphasis added) and therefore membership in them remains forbidden.[5]

THE POINT:

If you read up on Freemasonry, you will see that the underlying philosophy which guides its practices is a naturalistic deism/humanism. That humans can reach their full potential through harmonious living and service to each other. You might read this and think, "What's wrong with that?" The Christian SHOULD answer, our full potential is only obtained through salvation by Jesus Christ. The ultimate aim of life on Earth is to serve Our Lord and His Church according to Her precepts to face the final judgment.

This is where the Freemasons have infiltrated our church. Not by some grand conspiracy (which I can't completely rule out), but by a piece by piece obfuscation of the essential truths of Christian life. There is a God. He has been revealed. His Truth is eternal. We don't get to pick and choose which truths we will espouse, and finally IN NO WAY will providing for the common good ever be a substitute for faith in Jesus Christ and the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Tim Kaine, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, etc. are all symptoms of the disease caused by bad preaching, bad formation, and bad discipleship. Being a Good Samaritan does not supercede the Gospel.
#1) Love the Lord your God (if you're Catholic, it means you also love His Bride, the Church)
#2) Love your neighbor as yourself

http://www.cuttingedge.org/free004.html (a little over the top, but informative)

You can spend forever on google reading and watching videos on both sides of this issue.